Bruce Burch, Gainesville native, famed country songwriter, dies at 69
Jody Jackson, the foundation’s executive director and close friend of Burch’s, said the concert series has grown significantly over the past 20 years. The first year they only sold 30 tables, but last year they sold about 120, Jackson said.
“It’s kind of become something people love to do in Gainesville,” Jackson said.
Burch began teaching entertainment business at Brenau University in 2012 after helping launch music business programs at the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University. It allowed students to help organize the John Jarrard concert so they could interact with top artists and gain experience in the music industry.
One of Jackson’s favorite songs that Burch co-wrote is “Wine into Water” sung by T. Graham Brown, a witty ballad about struggling with alcoholism.
“There are so many artists that Bruce was friends with but also helped with their music and music publishing,” Jackson said. “It was just Bruce. It wasn’t about a job or getting paid, it was about trying to help people get where they’re going.
He ran his own publishing companies and worked for EMI, a major music publishing company in Nashville, and worked as an artist manager. Burch published a book in 1996 about his musical career called “Songs that Changed Our Lives”, in which he shares stories about his hit songs, recorded by T. Graham Brown, Billy Joe Royal, Aaron Tippin, Faith Hill, The Oak Ridge Boys, George Jones, Barbara Mandrell, John Anderson and Wayne Newton.
When her children were growing up, they were surrounded by music in their home and in their community, Stenzel said, and they made many trips to Gainesville to visit their grandparents and spend time on Lake Lanier.
“(Burch) always called Gainesville home,” Stenzel said. “He liked to help people. … It was never too important or anything to date someone new. He always wanted to help people come to Nashville, even once he somehow made it.
One of her and her brother’s favorite songs by their father was “I Got It Honest”, performed by Aaron Tippin.
“In fact, we love a lot of those that were never even cut by an artist, just one he had written,” she said.
He was born in Gainesville, played football at Gainesville High School, and graduated from UGA, where his two children also attended school. He had suffered from leukemia for about 30 years and his health had deteriorated recently before his death on Saturday, Stenzel said.
Besides Stenzel, Burch is survived by his son, Matthew Burch, as well as his four grandchildren, Lucy and Maisy Stenzel and Jack and Walter Burch.